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The Rain in Spain May Fall Mainly on the Plain: But the Wind in Spain Can Drive You Insane

Posted by Pinky and the Brain on 4th May 2016

The "Levante" as the locals refer to it is a warm wind that blow east to north-east and that flows from the Alboran Channel  and is funneled through the Strait of Gibraltar. The locals here in Cadiz are quick to point out that many have been literally driven insane by this relentless wind. Many local stories abound of strange happenings and occurrances when the Levante is blowing. Can there be any truth this madness?

Apparently, the short answer is, well yes. Various studies indicate that this prevailing wind may have an effect on a persons mental health, many times causing depression, and in some cases even random acts of insanity. 

Juan Navarro Cortecejo, TarifeƱo winds and expert in the area, writes about them and an extensive collection of articles covering various aspects, from the history, statistics, the positive and negative effects, literature, art, philosophy, humor, energy, culture of kite and windsurf, and more.

But it also has a section devoted to the psychosomatic effects, which sheds light on the influence of wind on the mental health and stability of individuals who suffer the rigors of the east, west or the gale that characterize Cadiz. 

Our system depends on the emotional balance, among other neurotransmitters in our body. But what are neurotransmitters? We could say that postmen are chemicals that carry messages between brain cells and cause the neurons are constantly talking. Messages that are happy or are driven by positive happy messengers. Other messages are grim and act as depressants. These are brought upon by the sad messengers. The delivery and reception of these messages is via electrical impulses. When life is calm and smooth, the messengers can accomplish their work. If by "certain circumstances" there is too much stress on the brain, the messengers are glad to start behind in their deliveries and are begin to fail, so part of the brain receives messages only "sad" and this causes the whole brain distress. These "certain circumstances" are the climate changes, for example, the wind.

Moreover, there appears to be a long history and culture that notes and counters the physiological effects of the wind on the emotional stability and mental well being of human beings. So much so, that even certainly the punishment of certain crimes is diminished during times of high Levante winds.

It is interesting to note that Cadiz is the oldest town in Europe, it also served as the major port and had a monopoly from 1492 until the 18th century in trade with the Americas. Even more noteworthy is the fact that even in these days of old the winds were a major consideration in the building of the city as even the streets were built so as to negate the effects of the wind.

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